Emotional intelligence doesn’t come easy to many of us, myself included.
It’s a learning process:
To become more self-aware and able to handle our emotions and those of others can be painful and gradual, coming about through life experiences.
When somebody lacks emotional maturity and emotional intelligence they will often display it in what they say, especially in response to difficult or intense conversations.
Here’s a look at the top phrases that show a lack of emotional intelligence.
1) “You’re too sensitive”
People who say this tend to be emotionally immature.
They are showing a lack of empathy.
Even if somebody else is being too sensitive, saying this to them certainly doesn’t help.
2) “Stop making such a big deal of it”
People can be over-dramatic. That’s absolutely true.
But those who respond in such a way are often displaying a controlling and dictatorial mindset that lacks emotional intelligence.
Minimizing others’ concerns may show a lack of understanding or validation.
3) “Are you on my side or not?”
This phrase is often used as a form of emotional blackmail.
It demands either a yes or no answer, leaving no space for subtlety or shades of gray.
In such a manner, the person saying this can often pressure others into agreeing with them and supporting them even if they are not being reasonable in their claims or are mistaken in some way.
4) “Facts are all that matter”
Facts certainly matter. A lot.
But when somebody says this they are displaying a rejection of the importance of emotions and subjective experience, which also matter. A lot.
Creating a dichotomy between emotions and logic reflects a misunderstanding of emotional intelligence.
5) “You’re overreacting”
Somebody may be overreacting and being excessive.
But saying the phrase above has elements of controlling and gaslighting in it.
Invalidating someone’s emotions by suggesting they are excessive shows a lack of empathy.
They may be overreacting. But they need to be calmed down, not riled up even more.
6) “I can’t deal with your sh*t right now”
Some people can be difficult and have negative patterns and traits they take out on us.
But saying the phrase above indicates an unwillingness to engage that can be a sign of real emotional frailty.
Avoiding emotional discussions may indicate discomfort with emotions.
7) “Get over it already”
A person who says this is acting like they have the right and power to dictate the emotions of others.
They don’t. Plus it doesn’t work.
Invalidating someone’s feelings suggests a lack of empathy and emotional understanding.
8) “You’re not making any sense”
Even if somebody is making minimal sense, this type of phrase only inflames the frustration.
It can be quite offensive, especially when said in a certain tone.
It’s also unlikely somebody is making no sense, and it’s generally better for this to be phrased along the lines of “I don’t understand, could you explain?”
9) “Whatever you say”
Expressing indifference to others’ emotions demonstrates a lack of empathy and emotional consideration.
This phrase is often delivered in a dismissive way which can lead to a further breakdown of communication and intensified conflict.
10) “Stop being so emotional”
Being very emotional isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Those who react in this way are usually indicating a level of discomfort with their emotions and the emotions of others. It’s not very mature.
Dismissing emotions as a negative trait indicates a lack of emotional intelligence.
11) “I’m tired of hearing about it”
This may be true.
But those who say it end up displaying that their patience has frayed beyond its limits.
They may be tired of hearing about “it,” but vocalizing this is a good way to start a fight, not a productive resolution.
12) “You don’t get it”
It’s true that somebody may not understand what’s being said.
But when a person uses the phrase above, they are often displaying a lack of maturity in regard to their feelings.
In many cases, they simply can’t tolerate that somebody else doesn’t agree.
Refusing to consider others’ perspectives may indicate a lack of emotional intelligence.
13) “I don’t need help in my life”
Being stressed or needing help is not shameful or weak.
People who say the phrase above tend to think of
Denying one’s own stress may suggest a lack of self-awareness and emotional understanding.
14) “I don’t need your help”
There are times when we want to go it alone. That’s fair enough.
But when this phrase is delivered in an obstinate or resistant way, it can often indicate a lack of real emotional intelligence.
An unwillingness to seek support can indicate difficulty in managing emotions.
15) “You’re being overly dramatic.”
Some people are dramatic and even overly dramatic.
But saying it shows a lack of emotional intelligence, because it claims the power to tell a person what they “should” feel or say.
Dismissing someone’s emotions as dramatic suggests a lack of empathy and understanding.
16) “People are too focused on their feelings”
This is a belief statement that shows somebody is uncomfortable with their feelings or the emotionalism of others.
Denying the validity of emotions shows a fundamental misunderstanding of emotional intelligence.
It’s not about being weepy or overly vulnerable: it’s about recognizing that feelings matter and facing them makes a person strong, not weak.
17) “Nobody cares”
Not only is this a mean thing to say, it’s often a way to gaslight or limit somebody.
Whether or not somebody cares about a certain problem or complaint doesn’t determine its authenticity.
This is basically a reverse appeal-to-authority. Whereas appeal to authority says “X is true because Y believes it too,” this says “X is invalid because Y doesn’t care about it.”
18) “I don’t really want to think about it”
This may be true, but the mark of an emotionally mature person is willingness to think about what they don’t want to.
By saying the phrase above, they indicate that they’re not willing to go to an emotionally uncomfortable place.
They don’t want to think about something confusing or upsetting.
19) “That’s your problem”
Emotions aren’t so neat as to only be somebody else’s problem or our problem.
Although refusing to become codependent is a good thing, trying to push off any commonality or empathy for a problem is usually the response of a person who doesn’t have a good relation with their own emotions.
Speaking of this phrase…
20) “That sounds like a ‘you problem’”
This is another snarky way to say “it’s not my problem.”
When somebody says this type of thing they are displaying a lack of emotional intelligence, because feelings can’t be segregated in such a binary way.
One person’s problems can quickly spill over and become somebody else’s concern or affect them in unexpected and real ways, and vice versa.
Improving emotional intelligence
Improving emotional intelligence is a matter of fostering empathy, self-awareness, and more effective communication.
Encouraging open and supportive dialogue can help in this regard, and as emotional intelligence grows so does personal fulfillment:
The result is better relationships, clearer communication and more empowered actions in day-to-day life.